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1928 John 2015

John E. Latenser

July 15, 1928 — May 13, 2015

John E. Latenser, 86, beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather and uncle, joined his loving wife Barbara Ann in heaven May 13, 2015. John was born July 15, 1928 in Kansas City, son of the late Forrest Latenser, a piano tuner, and Beatrice Whitney, a school teacher. John graduated from St. Aloysius grade school, Glennon High School and Rockhurst College. A lifelong learner, he continued his education earning a masters degree in education from the University of Kansas, and later a masters degree in financial services from the American College at Bryn Mawr. In the early years of his marriage, John worked as a high school coach and teacher in Walnut KS, at Glennon High School and St. John Seminary. As the family grew, so did the need to have more than a teachers salary to provide for them. John went into sales, which he loved, and began his career as a Certified Financial Planner doing estate planning and insurance sales for many years with Prudential. He kept his hand in athletics though by refereeing high school sports and playing recreational softball well into his 40s with The 9 Old Men team. He was always active and remained fit enough into his 70s to complete several 3- day Avon Walks for the Cure, jump off the tallest jumping rock at the Lake of the Ozarks, and dare any grandchild to throw him off the back of a speeding jet ski. His best and lifelong friend, Tom Walsh, introduced John to Barbara Marsee, the love of his life. After that blind date he began riding the streetcar across town to meet and win over Barbara (and her mother). He succeeded and they were married in 1949. Together they had 13 children. John liked to say that all his children were boys except 11. Forty grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren followed. Always patriotic, John served his country for more than 35 years of active and reserve duty in the U.S. Army and National Guard, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. His early active duty was with the Occupation Forces in Japan after World War II. His other active duty came in 1968 when his Kansas National Guard unit was activated. He was proud to serve, saying he had enjoyed the freedoms of his country and this was his chance to show his love for that country. After intelligence and language training at Ft. Carson Colorado, John served a tour in Vietnam. As an advisor to a South Vietnamese Army unit, he earned a Bronze Star for his service. A devoted Roman Catholic, he was a long time, and very involved, member of Immaculate Heart of Mary and later St. Elizabeths Parish. He was a member of the Serra Club, which is dedicated to increasing religious vocations. John was an integral part of the organization serving as the Treasurer for Serra International and the President of the USA-Canada Serra Club. Highlights of his time with Serra included meeting Mother Teresa and a trip to Rome in 1991 which included a personal audience with Pope John Paul II. His early service in Japan sparked a love of travel. John and Barbara traveled extensively to Prudential and Serra conferences, within the United States and internationally. Every summer included at least one family trip. Most of those were camping trips and required more than one station wagon and a pop up trailer. The kids were pretty impressed the first time they were able to stay in a hotel! For the last 30 years, Johns favorite vacation destination was the house he and Barbara built at the Lake of the Ozarks to provide what he called "gft" or good family times. An enduring memory for his family will be Johns last trip to the lake 3 weeks ago. John leaves behind 11 daughters: Marcy Nelson (Jim), Mary Beth Schmidt, Kathleen Glynn (Terence), Barbara Yoksh (Larry), Sharon Madrigal (Mike), Laura Walter (Tom), Janet Sommerhauser (Joe), Judy Latenser, Jeannie Latenser (Tim Stumpff), Amy Latenser, and Meg Nicely (Ben); two sons, John (Mary Elizabeth), and Jim Latenser (Mona). He also leaves behind cherished in-laws Jim Marsee (Ellen) and Ron Franzen. Also preceding him in death were brothers Russell, Raymond, Paul and Mike Latenser, sisters Marguerite Werner and Rosemary Shebs and granddaughter Jessica Schmidt Fox, in-laws Mary Franzen, Sharon Marsee Carney, Judy Glynn (Kevin). John leaves a legacy of deep commitment to family, a strong work ethic, a deep faith, a thirst for knowledge, the love of music, a sense of adventure, chivalry and manners, a sense of humor and a real zest for enjoying life and people. His Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Elizabeths Catholic Church; burial in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The visitation will be Sunday at the church with the rosary at 4 and visitation following till 7pm. Donations may be made to the St. Elizabeth School Heritage Fund, 2 East 75th Street, 64114; to the Alzheimers Assoc. Heart of America, 3846 West 75th St., Prairie Village, Ks. 66208 or to Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care, 1500 Meadow Lake Parkway Suite 200 Kansas City, Mo., 64114

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